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7th May 2012

Ask Keir: Ritalin

As exams approach Keir looks at the use of Ritalin, in the final edition of Ask Keir

Ask Keir is a column aiming to answer all your health questions. If you want to know about that funny looking lump that won’t go away, why that student doctor keeps poking you or anything at all to do with health get in touch at: [email protected]

All questions will of course be kept confidential and anonymous.

Question of the Week

A couple of friends of mine have been taking Ritalin for their exams and they say it has really been helping them concentrate whilst they’re revising. Does it help or is it all in the mind?

In short Ritalin does have the potential to help us study. Even Professor John Harris from our grand university has declared it ‘unethical’ to stop healthy adults using it and also stated it enhanced study skills and concentration.

Almost unanimously most health experts would agree with it having the ability to enhance concentration but there are other factors that need to be taken into account.

First off, it’s imperative to acknowledge that Ritalin without prescription is a class B drug, is therefore illegal and could land your friends in prison for 5 years for possession of it.

Also if you wouldn’t be getting it on prescription there’s no guarantee that what your friends are taking is actually Ritalin.  Back to the drug itself, like with all drugs there are side effects. Some of the most common are;

– Difficulty sleeping

– Feeling nervous

– Headaches

Rarer side effects include psychosis, anorexia and depression. It is however always good to put these possible ‘side effects’ into context. If you look at the lengthy leaflet inside an ibuprofen packet it could shock you into never taking them again but the chance of these occurring are usually very low and the same applies to Ritalin.

So to summarise Ritalin could help you revise but is it really worth the risk to your future career by potentially acquiring a criminal record?

It also, like all drugs, has a long list of side effects that could affect you and some of the most common will be of no help to you at all during the exam period. So my advice has to be you can do as well as anyone on Ritalin by hard work alone.

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